ביר נבאלא, עטרות, קלנדיה, יום ב' 3.12.07, אחה"צ

צופות: 
Ruth O., Orit Y., and Ilana D. (reporting)
03/12/2007
|
אחה"צ

From 1:30 till 6:00 PM

Ramot Road CP, Bitunia, Atarot and
Qalandia

There was no queue but all cars were checked at
the exit path from Bir Nabala at the Ramot Road. We
arrived at Bitunia after the released Palestinian prisoners had already passed,
but we found a locked gate (without any explanation) about a hundred yards
before the CP. An empty truck apparently on its way to collect merchandise
‘back-to-back’ followed us and made a U-turn too. We turned towards Qalandia and
found ourselves in a long line. An impromptu CP had been set up on the road
before the Atarot Industrial Zone – the wait was about twenty minutes. One of
the drivers joked that Olmert had signed in Annapolis to
add a few more CP’s, but this one is "just a 'tiny treat' (nishnush), not like
some of the others”, he added. We parked our car at the parking lot across the
wall on the Southern end of the Qalandia CP (the “Atarot Passage”) and were told
by the bus drivers that they had been waiting for 45 minutes for the passengers
they had dropped in front of the terminal on the other side, since every person
is being bodily checked, even women “and in our community there is much shame to
undress in front of strangers”, they said. The passage on foot, going North was
uneventful until we heard some shooting and then the loudspeaker announced:
“Shooting at the CP, the CP is closed” a deafening alarm went off and all gatesinfo-icon
were locked automatically – no one entered, no one exited. We were able to see a
mass of people pushing towards the turnstiles in the direction of
Jerusalem – those the drivers had talked about. After ten
minutes the gates in the Northern direction were opened and we crossed in order
to return. Needless to say the amount of people waiting to cross, most with blue
Id’s, had increased dramatically. One elegantly dressed man from Abu Gosh is the
Director of a bank in Ramalla. We actually were looking for Guy Ehrlich, since
we had hoped he might be able to help us with easier access of the students of
the Atarot Vocational School. A blond girl
soldier in her fortified cubicle connected some wires after she had spotted us
amidst the throngs of people and offered help. We asked her re Guy Ehrlich; she
inquired and said that there was no such person. After a wait of about an hour
we were able to move into the second waiting area with its electronic messages
welcoming us and wishing us a pleasant stay. Behind us was an elderly British
couple who had been to this CP during an earlier visit, but not since the
construction of the new terminal. They were appalled by the shouting and power
in the hands of the young girls who decided to close the CP for a couple of
minutes as a collective punishment for any tiny break of the public order, for
instance when three people passed in stead of two, or someone was stuck within
the turnstiles. The husband was a retired physician and they plan to set up a
hospital in Gaza, but so far were not allowed entry. He is
active in England with the academic boycott, which had had
much coverage. A man next to us who had talked on his cell phone announced that
the Hizme CP was also closed, in case someone might try that venue. Yesterday
had been worse, we heard, a shooting incident had taken place and the wait had
been longer than three hours. We were getting impatient, but all the
Palestinians, amongst whom many students, took it into their stride and are used
to worse apparently. We finally passed into the CP area in intervals of more
than five minutes and found the DCL closed and no sign of any office of the
Municipality, but two entrances to a Post
Office, which was also closed. Only
two passages were open. We took the one to the left, which looked a little
faster. We observed the procedures from the side and noted that unlike in the
airport people had to take care themselves of the trays for their purses, phones
and keys – take off coats, belts etc. present their papers and then push the
tray into the X-ray machine and pass the metal detector. Some elderly women were
somewhat less efficient and thus were shouted at by the girl soldier – people
behind the turnstiles helped with instructions. Sometimes two or three people
were allowed in at the same time, and sometimes only one. A young man attempted
to enter when the soldier had decided that he should wait, she screamed at him
to move back, but the turnstile was stuck. He grinned – this infuriated her and
she told him to return to the end of the line. He refused and she closed the
passage to everyone for five minutes and then took his papers and let him wait.
Again we were unable to enter together, but in the end after the three of us had
come through (and the elderly English couple too) the boy was still waiting. We
tried to interfere on his behalf, but the result was that the police was called
and he was taken inside for ‘further investigation’. A civilian guard told
us to leave ‘for our safety’, we told him that we would only leave after the boy
was released. Then we heard loud wailing from the first passage and went to
look. A woman and her young daughter were lying on the floor and crying. We
first thought she was ill, but it then transpired that her permit was for
yesterday and that she was refused entry. We waited and were told to move “you
are disturbing”. Both passages were closed, no one passed. The young boy exited
accompanied by a guard and an older police officer came out with them. We tried
to tell him that we had observed the incident and that the boy was not to blame,
but he told us to move away and not interfere with his job. His name is Moshe
Babiyan. The woman kept screaming, a girl soldier said to her: “You don’t even
have tears.” She was then taken away and the slow checking procedure was resumed
– no one took any notice of the fact that the line had become even longer; we
timed more than two hours.